Monday, April 3, 2017

Our trip to Paris day 1 and 2!

Let me preface this by saying that I love learning and seeing new things. I get excited about everything and experience things on a level bordering on "over passionate". I'm not sure that's a real thing, but I soak in everything I see and have wide open eyes and ears. I take in the sights, smells, tastes, history and the stories so I can better remember and experience what I'm seeing. :) Joie de vivre!

From the TOP:

The flight to Paris.

It was cute to think that an overnight flight would mean waking up refreshed in another country ready to party. Overnight flight really meant trying to force myself to sleep for 9 hours.

Got off the plan, ubered (cannot recommend Uber or Lyft enough) to the hotel in Le Marais. *cue starry eyed staring out the window for the entire drive* Uber driver was our worst "frenchman" experience. In all honesty, he may or may not have spoken English - I can tell you he didn't want to talk to us and I don't blame him. Do your thing, boo.

We stayed in the super interesting and modern Astotel 123 Sebastopol . It's movie themed hotel, which I wasn't sure about a modern hotel in Paris until we checked in. The facade fits right in with all the beautiful historic buildings, but the inside is fresh and hip. 

An amazing balcony for eating patisseries and people watching. Our balcony directly faced several apartment buildings (with images of french film celebs painted on their walls especially for hotel guests to gaze upon. crazy) and everyone had their windows wide open on the lovely day. So yeah, we peeping tom'd them. Duh. It was just like the movies. One dude had no pants on and was eating a pastry so ... obviously worth the stalking.

Day 1 in Paris:

I should put a pic of the Eiffel Tower here.

Feeling a bit jet lagged but also BEYOND pumped up to be in Paris, we kept it relatively simple and roamed around Le Marais a bit then decided to see the Eiffel Tower so we really felt like we were in Paris. We got our first croissant and pain au chocolate at the Eiffel Tower - perfectly apropos! We
figured out the Metro relatively quickly thanks to google maps. Getting around Paris became fun and about people watching and not intimidating in the slightest.

After feeling satisfied with my 200 photos of the Eiffel Tower, we decided to check out the Champs Élysées. it's mostly your standard chain shopping situation BUT - this includes the Sephora flagship which is clearly "the mothership". I mean, that store NEVER ENDS (single tear of appreciation). Tragically, the rest of Paris also decided it was the place to be, so it was a hot mess of humanity. No one speaks the same language so we all just bounced off of each other and swatched lipstick on our hands. I walked out of there with a bag of goodies, an empty wallet, and a grin as big as Notre Dame.

In the Champs Elysees district is the Arc De Triomphe. It was built as an homage to those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary war. It was cool to see, but almost seemed oddly out of place right next to the Mall of America... of Paris. I don't mean to under appreciate the history here, but jet lag is no joke and I was feeling it in my bones!

Walking miles and miles pays off when you begin to realize that EVERYTHING in Paris is full of history and beauty and detail and art.

don't close your eyes or you'll miss the beauty.
cobblestone streets and pigeons probably eating fries all day.

Crashed at 9p after a meal at place called Le Parisian - which sounds so touristy, but I assure you - it was the opposite of a tourist trap! I really felt like this was my first glimpse into how young Parisians live. A large table of 20 somethings (oh jeez, i'm old and I have no idea how old people are) were hanging out. People would wander up to their table, be loudly and joyously greeted and at some point, one of those people would fill my wine glass. I wasn't sure who it would be. Talk about laid back. Also, my favorite is creme brûlée and I ate it on the streets of Paris. (le sigh)

DAY 2, Paris!

Started off the day with a delicious breakfast in our hotel including cafe au lait, a random fruit and cheese "salad" (amazing), a huge chunk of brie, watery eggs (a universal hotel staple!), chicken sausage, and all the pastries and our first baguette! Apparently, eggs are only served at breakfast for tourists as eggs are reserved for lunch and dinner.

Palace De Versailles. This place is so interesting. Plan to wait in line for a long time just to step foot inside, but while you wait, you feast your eyes on the beauty that is Versailles. *travel tip* it was suggested to us to get the Rick Steves app and upload anything you might be interested in, preferably from your home wifi. He has walking tours and general fun information on every major European city. They even factor in lines so pop in your headphones and begin learning about everything in front of you. We didn't need to book a tour at Versailles thanks to Rick.

Decor to the hilt.

Palace De Versailles - hall of mirrors, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon, King Louis XVI, miles of gardens, you get it. It's amazing. Room after room filled with detailed decor from floor to ceiling. Only complaint is that it's SO crowded that sometimes it was tough to get a good look around each room. Fortunately, you can take a macaron (not macaroon, people) snack break and have a cafe au lait to gather up strength to fight the crowds once again.

Picked up a rock from the grounds and couldn't WAIT to give it to my history loving 6 year old. Napoleon could have walked on this rock! You could easily spend an entire day on the grounds alone, so allow plenty of time for Versailles on a beautiful day!

On to Montmartre which is a place we weren't sure we would have the time to visit. SO GLAD WE WENT. This is the exact vibe I look for in every city I visit. Artsy, slightly touristy, always a little questionable, heartbeat of every city. Montmartre is clearly a little more touristy than the usual artsy area as it leads directly to Sacre Coeur Basilica, but definitely worth seeing as it all leads UP UP UP.

France first - CREPES! Lemon sugar and a giant glass of wine. The crepes were thicker than ones I've had NOT in Paris, I can only assume my American crepes are stupid and wrong.

Sacre Coeur Basilica. After walking up 10,000,000 steps and slowly accepting my inevitable death, I caught my breath and was immediately targeted by the local con artists. I wore all black and a frown! I couldn't look anymore Parisian! Come to find out, they target everyone. He actually took my hand. These dudes are bold! NO. Don't touch me, bro. I firmly let him know I wasn't going down like that and he left me alone.
After questioning the validity of the miles on the treadmill back home - I finally made it up the stairs to an amazingly beautiful view of Paris. I have to say that this is one of my favorite experiences so far. A hundred year old church with deep history.

You can feel the holiness the moment you walk into Sacre Coeur even though tourists flood this beautiful church. It's moving and sacred and unless you are an idiot, you have a tremendous amount of respect the moment you step one foot inside. We happened to walk in during mass and it was truly beautiful. A holy place indeed.

Next up - dinner cruise on La Seine. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. They played lots of American music and I had no idea what I was looking at as no one told us anything and just expected us to follow the paper we were given - but guys... they also gave us LOTS of wine and champagne! It was confusing as every single thing out the window looks like a freaking 2,000,000 year old miracle. They spent a lot of time on the Statue De Liberte and played Alicia Keys "New York" on blast... which is hilarious and obviously catering to the Americans. I'll take it.

This is the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower at night and the amazing light show they have every hour after the sun sets. I will say that I had a "moment". Surreal. Magical. Tres belle.

oh hey there

Just couldn't bring ourselves to go to bed since the night was beautiful and La Seine is such an unforgettable area to walk. Walked a couple miles toward Notre Dame and holy frijoles. If you don't respect what you're seeing, you should reevaluate your life. Popped in my ear buds and let Rick Steves tell me what I was looking at. In other news, a giant Parisian rat ran past where I was sitting and marveling at the glory that is Notre Dame. What a cool life that rat has.

Day 2 in the books. Missing Paris already and I haven't even left yet.